More than $250m invested in Bermuda through EIC: minister
A scheme to allow non-Bermudians to become long-term residents if they invested a minimum of $2.5 million has continued to pay dividends, the economy and labour minister said yesterday.
Jason Hayward said that the total investments that supported Economic Investment Certificates was about $260 million.
The biggest area for investment – about $209 million – was listed under “new business.”
That was followed by almost $46 million ploughed into real estate, and $5.7 million into existing businesses.
Mr Hayward told the House of Assembly as he delivered his budget statement that 13 EICs had already been awarded and another four applications – representing $54 million in investments – were being processed.
Mr Hayward added that the ministry has received another 37 inquiries with a potential value of up to $114 million.
The figures were a significant increase from November, when Mr Hayward reported that eight EICs had been awarded, with EIC holders making more than $39.5 million.
He said at the time that the “total investment” in the EIC pipeline was just over $200 million.
EIC recipients are required to invest a minimum of $2.5 million into the Bermudian economy.
Mr Hayward also highlighted the continued success of the Work from Bermuda programme, which had generated an estimated $23.3 million injection into the economy by last October.
Mr Hayward said that 1,168 application had been received, with 1,012 approved, and 74 permit holders had applied to have their one-year permits extended.
He added that one permit holder had gone on to apply for an EIC after investing more than $2.5 million in Bermuda.
Mr Hayward said the Department of Immigration intended to rewrite the island’s work permit policy in this financial year, expand the use of e-gates at the airport and improve immigration monitoring at the island’s seaports.
He added that legislation was being drafted to tackle the problem of “sham marriages”.
Mr Hayward also told the House that the ministry was working to introduce immigration changes, implement a minimum wage – to be followed by a living wage – and update the Financial Assistance programme.
The changes will include allowing Financial Assistance recipients to retain $2,500 of child support payments received and to accept gifts of up to $2,500.
Mr Hayward added the ministry would look at a range of changes to Bermuda’s labour laws, including the possible introduction of a requirement to notify the Government about mass layoffs.
Other changes proposed are measures to ensure equal pay for equal work, fair pay for employees who receive tips and measures to prevent wage theft by employers.